Sabden 2 – 4 Burnley Athletic

Sabden 2 – 4 Burnley Athletic

 A wholehearted display by the Sabden boys fell short of producing a back-to-back win at Nutter Barn, as high-flying Burnley Athletic ultimately left with 3 points.

 Burnley Athletic arrived at the Barn yesterday, sitting at the top of both the Burnley Sunday League Division One and the more illustrious East Lancashire Premier League. They departed some 2 hours later, with another 3 points, but having been given a stern test of their credentials by a valiant effort from the Sabden boys.

 Sabden spent a lot of the first half pegged back into their own half, as Athletic dominated possession. However, a scratch centre-half pairing of Ryan Graves and new signing, Ryan Ellis, marshalled the backline with considerable poise and skill. They were further aided in this respect by quality contributions from Ben Dewhurst, with Zac Musker also keeping the lively number 10 reasonably quiet.

 When Sabden did get the ball, it was shifted quickly to the front; and with considerable success. Twice in the early part of the game, Charlie Collinge found himself with clear cut chances, only to uncharacteristically pull his shots wide of the target.

 On 24 minutes, Paul Astin was gifted the ball by the Burnley defence and he made no mistake, tucking the ball neatly into the net. In retaliation, Athletic continued to press hard, but continued quality team defending, with Adam Fuller and Will Child battling hard in the midfield, kept the away team at bay.

 On 38 minutes, Athletic finally found a way through via the right flank, and Tom Diggins was unable to get to a fine shot which nestled in the corner for Athletic`s equaliser.

 6 months ago, this would perhaps have been the start of a collapse by the young Sabden team. They are made of sterner stuff these days and just before half-time, got their noses in front once more. One minute before the interval, Fallon won a ball on the halfway line and rolled the ball into the path of the outstanding Will Child. Child added to his growing list of assists by slipping the ball to Collinge who unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top right corner from 25 yards – a Goal of the Season contender indeed!

 The flow of the game continued into the second half, with Sabden having to defend and look for opportunities on the counter. It did not take long for another equaliser, which arrived on 51 minutes, with the ball striking Dewhurst on its way into the net.

 And then on 53 minutes came the moment of high drama ……

 Jonny Heap challenged for a ball in what can be best described as an untidy 50:50, and a scuffle ensued. Once the handbags had been put away, the referee, Mr Reid, had the unfortunate task of quite correctly dismissing both Heap and his opponent from the field; which meant that both teams would continue the contest with 10 men.

 Athletic adjusted more quickly to the enforced changes and just before the hour mark, got their noses in front for the first time, as a hasty clearance was returned with interest, with Diggins unsighted in the Sabden goal.

 On 64 minutes, Athletic scored their fourth. For the remaining 25 minutes Sabden fought hard for the goal that could bring them back into the contest.

 On 80 minutes Fallon broke clear, but the keeper saved well and the chance was gone, and Sabden were unable to make any further inroads into the score before Mr Reid blew for full time.


Astin (24), Collinge (44)


Ryan Graves – not the tallest centre half in the league, but showed that timing is more important in winning the vast majority of his interceptions. Also, key in getting the counter-attack going on a number of occasions.